Curing the Public School Disease: The Diagnosis

All I see–in news story after news story about Public Schooling–is symptom after symptom being treated as if it’s the disease.

It’s like suddenly realizing your foot has gone all gangrene on you, and the doctor says, “Yup… that’s nasty. We have to cut it off or you’ll die.” So you lose the limb (because you really don’t want to die right now) and go home happy that your problems are solved… except the doctor didn’t tell you about your diabetes.

Turns out the doctor makes his money performing amputations. Being the professional who knows more than you, he will be more than happy to solve your problems three more times before he’ll have to look harder for another symptom to treat.

So, here are a few more symptoms of another sort: We have discipline problems in Muncie schools, we have a student that was allegedly raped by another student during lunch and the administration brushed her off for two and a half hours (and didn’t call the police), and as a result of the outcry, the public school administrators are making up new rules to make sure this doesn’t happen again. (RIGHT!) So once again, we are all up in arms (and legs, if we are to continue this metaphor) about how to treat this pressing problem; a problem that is a symptom of the disease, not the disease.

Pretty much every public education problem we read or hear about is a symptom.

  • Teachers aren’t teaching the kids the basic knowledge needed to function in society. Symptom.
  • Parents aren’t teaching their children to respect authority. Symptom.
  • Kids aren’t interested in learning and they lash out or disrupt or bully the students who are interested in learning. Symptom.
  • Kids dropping out or “escaping” before the school wants them to. Symptom.
  • Public school officials, tired of the high number of poorly performing students negatively affecting their state test averages, only to turn into dropouts and negatively affecting their graduation rates, are finding creative ways to turn those numbers into gold by excommunicating those kids to private schools (homeschooling.)  See what’s going on in Texas, Illinois, and Indiana if you want to get an idea of what’s probably going on around the nation and still under the radar. BIG, WRONG, TREATMENT OF A SYMPTOM.
  • Rapes, assaults, drugs, gangs, sex in classrooms, sex with students, sex with teachers…. Symptoms all.

About anything you can come up with that we call a “problem” with Public Schools today, can be boiled down to a symptom, not a foundational, systemic, cause of all our problems with public education as we know it today.

So why are we so eager to treat the symptoms and not the disease that has so many disparate and unique symptoms? Could it be that we fear treating the disease because we know the side effects are going to be too uncomfortable for us to handle? Could it be that our culturally ingrained philosophies about schooling every single child at all costs have caused us to miss the point of what true education is all about? (Tolstoy would have called real education–enlightenment. We don’t hear that today. Today, it’s called “attendance.”)

Before compulsory mass schooling was proposed and implemented, funded by the taxpayers and delivered by government employees, there were generations upon generations of people who somehow managed to educate themselves. Start your research by reading about the Founding Fathers. Educate yourself and get back to me.

I know it’s hard to believe–for those of you who don’t read and educate themselves–but before public schooling, America’s literacy rate was estimated to be above 90%. Most all families had a Bible and could read it. The Federalist Papers were written in a manner (at the time) so that even the average American could understand what was being proposed. You could say that Adams dumbed it down so everyone could figure out what that Constitution thing was all about.

Can you imagine ANY high school class studying the Federalist Papers, discussing and debating the content intelligently today? Ever wonder to yourself why public schoolers don’t read much, or well? That’s another symptom.

So what is the disease?

Compulsion

The freedom and liberty we enjoy as Americans have been curtailed when it comes to our personal enlightenment; our personal education, if you will. One single law, and the feeding of a leviathan I call the Government/Education Industrial Complex has almost single-handedly usurped the responsibility and duty of every parent to raise AND educate their own children. Let’s face it: we’re only one free or reduced meal away from turning many of our public schools into Outpatient Orphanages. Right now, they’re just welfare schools for those who don’t take responsibility for rearing AND educating their children seriously.

If it’s Taxpayer Funded, Government Run, and Attendance is Compulsory, it must be a SCHOOL!

Schooling is NOT education. The two are different animals. Schooling in America is a system entirely based on compulsion… attendance.

Ever wonder why we don’t have compulsory EDUCATION laws? Why is that? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? You go to school to get an education. Right? Well, no. If the State codified the compulsory receiving of an education/learning/enlightenment, then when they fail to deliver on that promise, you could (in theory) make a legal claim against the State.

The reality is, the State only compels you to ATTEND a school. You (or rather, your child) is not required to actually LEARN anything. You see… THAT part is really still up to the parent. YOU, the parent, are still responsible for making sure that your children BECOME educated, or enlightened so that they can participate in our civilized society. According to the state, schooling takes exactly twelve years… for everyone. But education? Isn’t that really a lifetime learning thing?

When do you really start learning about life and what you really want to be when you grow up? After high school, right? Isn’t that what we tell each other while retelling all of our public school horror stories? So what was the point of all those wasted years?

Oh! Take a look at that! Could that be a disease? Could that be the thing that spins off all those psycho-social symptoms we can’t keep track of? Compulsory Attendance? Never mind, let’s just chop off another limb. Let’s arrest parents who don’t force their children to attend government schools. That’s a symptom we can handle.

So seriously… how do we treat the disease and put a stop to about 90% of the social symptoms we are experiencing with Public Schools?

1) Repeal all compulsory attendance laws. We don’t have to have a law to force people to feed, clothe and shelter themselves, why is it necessary to force them to attend a government institution at the taxpayer’s expense for something called schooling?

2) Redefine the public’s role in paying for the attendance of other people’s children in State-run Schools. We either agree that it is important to contribute to the funding of every child’s education (not just the children who are property of the state) or we decide that while we support the education/enlightenment of every child, it’s really up to the parent to decide how that works out for their family–and how to pay for it.

I’ll let everyone mull those two big shots of chemo’ and expound on how I believe this treatment will work in a future post.

—-

It’s not that we can’t solve problems because they’re complicated; it’s that we DON’T want to solve problems because the solutions are too hard.

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3 thoughts on “Curing the Public School Disease: The Diagnosis

  1. Hey, once again I love your post. This is only abput my third visit to our site. Like, you I’m busy trying to change the old one child at a time. I commented a little while back to your post “A Dad’s Homeschool Socialization Program” and I would like to thank you for the ‘pingback’ (I think it’s called). Like I promised I linked to your site (http://www.homeschoolingtt.com/index.php/resources/) It was an honour. I am from Trinidad and Tobago, so one might think that much of what you said in this post “Curing the Public School Disease” may not apply, but it’s the same here, if not worse. In fact, our laws are so ancient that homeschooling isnot even legal here. I noticed you mentioned Tolstoy. Strange, one of the books that helped me on this journey was his hard to read, “The Kingdom of God is within You”. Loved your ref to the Bible that was the main one for me. Read it (KJV) from cover to cover. It took me five years, but it was worth it. Enough about me, but it is refreshing to see that we have some things in common. I really admire your work and effort. I know it takes a lot out of you and the irony of it is that manytimes this effort may actually take you a bit away from spending time with your kids, but we appreciate it, and they will appreciate it also when they grow up and see what thier dad has done. Not for material gain, but for the greater good… the greater good of the children. “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” Keep the fire burning. God Bless!

  2. Sorry for the typos in my previous comment. Guess, next time I’ll check it over before I hit the “Post Comment” button – not after :( In the first sentence it was supposed to read “…visit to your site” (not ‘our’) sorry again.

  3. You said: It’s not that we can’t solve problems because they’re complicated; it’s that we DON’T want to solve problems because the solutions are too hard. What, you wants us to actually think and work at solving our problems? Why should we? Haven’t schools taught us that ‘working’ was for our parents? Hey, it’s always easier to sit in a ‘rumshop’ (Trinidad and Tobago talk; US equivalent: a bar) and drink a beer, than it is to fly a kite with your kid [..or build a website to help others think ;) ]

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